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The 4th European Economic Congress has commenced
Europe 2020: Time for growth

The first day of the 4th European Economic Congress is over. The largest business event in Central Europe is under way and will continue until Wednesday, the 16th of May, with nearly six thousand guests participating in it. Most of the over one hundred discussion panels are yet to take place.
Guests gathered at Centrum Kultury Katowice were welcomed by Wojciech Kuśpik, Chairman of the Board of the PTWP Group, the initiator of the event, Zygmunt Łukaszczyk, the Governor of the Silesian Province, Adam Matusiewicz, the Marshal of the Province, Piotr Uszok, Mayor of the City of Katowice and Dawid Kostempski, President of the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia.

The central theme of the 4th European Economic Congress is the future of the European economy and how to push it onto the tracks of growth,’ Wojciech Kuśpik said.

Bronisław Komorowski, the President of Poland, opened the ‘Europe 2020’ session.
‘Europe has no time for errors and living in illusions,’ he warned. ‘With no growth, we will be on the way to a downfall. Europe must maintain its competitiveness while remaining open to the world.’

‘This year’s Congress has a great mission,’ Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament from 2009–2012, emphasised. ‘We want to ask how the things Poland managed to achieve in the last twenty years – economic development and reforms – can be translated into a greater scale. How can we solve the problems of Europe?’

Waldemar Pawlak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Poland, listed the conditions for implementing a European growth strategy, including effectiveness in using resources, reasonable regulations and the transparency of actions.

Barbara Kudrycka, Minister of Science and Higher Education, pointed to the crucial importance of investing in innovation. ‘We are on an express train that keeps speeding up. We have an opportunity to dramatically increase innovativeness. Scandinavia and Germany alone will not be able to catch up with the USA and Asian countries.’

Janusz Lewandowski, EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget, encouraged optimism and investment and warned of populism.

‘The EU budget is by nature an investment budget. We cannot look for development stimuli for Europe by means of increasing indebtedness. In places where there is no place for indebtedness, funds should be invested.’

The other debates included discussions on the future of Central European countries, the place of Europe in the global competitiveness race and the future of the EU climatic policy in view of its impact on the economy.

The first day’s agenda also included accompanying events: a meeting of Polish healthcare managers, sessions on investment and metropolises development, as well as the relations between culture and business. The Top Municipal Investment Projects 2012 awards ceremony was held in the evening.

The 4th EEC is organised by the PTWP SA Group, with the Silesian Province, Metropolia Silesia and the City of Katowice as co-organisers.

Bronisław Komorowski, President of Poland
Europe has no time for errors and living in illusions. With no growth, we will be on the way to a downfall. Its wealth will suffice for years, but this will not change the fact that the world will have new economic poles. Unfortunately, though, Europe’s growth agenda still consists of slogans rather than specific solutions. I hope that the European Economic Congress has suggested us such solutions.

Europe faces a debate on how to provide its own growth and stabilise the global economy. Poland needs to join in. We will need to talk about more flexible working time, higher retirement age, and technological innovations. In taking key decisions, we need to take risks. Economic changes require some kind of consensus, which must be built by politicians. People’s trust and optimism is needed.

Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2012,a former Prime Minister of Poland.

Europe needs economic growth. This cannot be achieved without a competitive economy. We can see new jobs created only with a 3-4% growth in GDP. People want to work and create prosperity. The EU’s budget for the years 2014-2020, meant as a source of innovation will be a driving force for growth. In this regard, Europe is losing with USA and China, who are better at combining scientific research and economic needs. The Polish economy also has a problem with innovations. The spirit of entrepreneurship is very strong, nevertheless. This must eventually find reflection in innovations.